The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

January 24, 2013

Camanche Robotics Team teaches life lessons

CAMANCHE — A whole new world of career possibilities and learning outside the classroom is opened to fourth-graders through their involvement in the robotics team.

This year’s group is no exception, continuing the ambitious legacy started by the current middle school team, also known as last year’s Team Tobor.

“This is a wonderful group of students,” Robotics Team Coach and Gifted Education Teacher Sheryl Kennedy said. “I am not directing them; they are constantly evaluating and coming up with ideas and solutions.”

Team S.H.I.N.E, which stands for Super Handy Intelligent Navigating Endeavor, proved its namesake and then some at this year’s competitions.



The group of 10 dedicated youngsters won the category of Best Robot Design at the F.I.R.S.T. Lego League Regional tournament in December, which catapulted them into the state competition in Ames last weekend.

While the kids didn’t place or win any awards at the state level, they finished in the top 10 percent and held their own as one of the youngest teams in a field of predominately seventh- and eighth-grade teams.

And the lessons learned go far beyond the awards ceremony.

“I learned teamwork and to be a better listener,” team member Madison Thompson said. “We met lots of interesting people and had lots of fun.”

This group of 9 and 10 year olds, aren’t going to waste time dwelling on their losses.

“It’s more important to learn and have fun than it is to win,” Zach Schutte said.

At state, the team had five events to compete in:  project (research and presentation skills), core values (teamwork), robotic programming and structure evaluation, and three different robot matches. The team presented in front of thousands of spectators.

In addition to programming their robot, constructing obstacles and working on missions, the kids had to prepare a project to solve a real-life problem. This year’s theme was helping seniors stay connected and involved in the community. After putting their brains together, they came up with several props to make the lives of seniors safer and easier such as a digital identification walking cane, a sensor for stoves that could help ward off house fires and other items.

All the inventions were senior approved. The team went to Eagle Point Nursing and Rehab Center to interview seniors and get ideas.

Teams also are judged on core values, including working as a team, finding guidance and learning with mentors, honoring friendly competition and treating each other with respect and kindness.

“We learned to be gracious professionals and help others,” Zayne Feller said. “We helped a sixth grade coach that was new to the competition.”

These students were so dedicated to the team that they put in extra hours after school and often gave up recess time to work on S.H.I.N.E. For some the opportunity to be a part of the team has helped them discover future ambitions.

“My favorite part was being at Iowa State, where I want to go to school to become an electrical engineer,” Bella Sager said.

Kennedy puts extra work and time into leading the group, because of the important life lessons it offers her students.

“I enjoy the way it makes kids think,” Kennedy said. “There are no right or wrong answers, but there is always a choice and something you can do better. It’s a really important life lesson.”

When asked whether they will compete in the F.I.R.S.T Lego League again, the students did everything but jump for joy as they all replied in unison an overwhelming “yes.”

“I’m already excited for the theme for next year, ‘Nature’s Fiery,” Riley Sowle said. “That sounds really fun. I already have some ideas.”

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Celebrity quack moms are a terrible influence on everyday parents

    On April 15, the actress Alicia Silverstone released a book called "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning." It's chock-full of attachment parenting lessons and dangerous misinformation.

    April 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg What will happen in NFL draft? No one really knows

    Despite the hours spent interviewing coaches, watching film and developing well-reasoned mock draft lists, the truth about the 2014 NFL draft remains a mystery, well-guarded by teams that have nothing to gain by publicly sharing their innermost thoughts.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • 20140424-AMX-COFFEE24.jpg Coffee growers' prayers for rain met with threat of deluge

    Brazil's drought made arabica coffee this year's best-performing commodity. Now, farmers are facing a downpour that is once more threatening crops.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Iowa man accused of torturing, killing bald eagle

    An Iowa man has been charged with torturing and killing a bald eagle.

    A federal grand jury in Des Moines returned an indictment Wednesday against Jason John Thomas.

    April 24, 2014

  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 24, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 24, 2014

  • 4-23-14 Northey Burkens committed to ag education CLINTON -- As the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey said his department doesn't hand out the Good Farm Neighbor Award arbitrarily. Only 10 acknowledgements are bestowed each year. On Wednesday, the honor went to a worthy family in Clinton C

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • World Book Night 1 Clinton Public Library hosts largest World Book Night event in the country

    CLINTON -- With more than 21 titles and 800 copies to give away, what reader wouldn't adore an event like World Book Night? Organizers at the Clinton Public Library wondered the same Wednesday, and were pleased with turnout for the third annual event

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amid Russian warning, Ukraine's in a security bind

    Ukraine's highly publicized goal to recapture police stations and government buildings seized by pro-Russia forces in the east produced little action on the ground Wednesday but ignited foreboding words from Moscow.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Russia would mount a firm response if its citizens or interests come under attack in Ukraine. Although he did not specifically say Russia would launch a military attack, his comments bolstered wide concern that Russia could use any violence in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for sending in troops.

    April 23, 2014

AP Video